When using the Internet, there is always a risk that you are going to encounter malware and cybercrime, which is why installing a firewall and virus protection is advisable as well as being skeptical when it comes to strange emails or advertisements. Here, the data protection professionals at Atlantic Data Forensics provide an overview of five common forms of cybercrime you should know about so you can avoid falling prey to scam artists and hackers.

Phishing is one of the most common forms of cybercrime and is defined as a fraudulent attempt to obtain private information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information and other personal information by acting as a legitimate institution over the Internet. Phishing attempts can occur over the computer or telephone, but most often take the form of an email. Phishing emails can pop up in your inbox offering a promotional service, business proposal or an award announcement in exchange for private information. Phishing emails may also be framed in such a way that it seems as if the message is coming from a coworker, employer, family member or friend—typically, the quickest way to determine such an email is fraudulent is if the sender’s email address is not familiar to you. The best way to avoid falling victim to a phishing attempt is to be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true and to avoid clicking links or giving away private information to an entity that you do not know or cannot verify as legitimate.

Cyber criminals may use maladvertising as a method of hacking innocent Internet users. Maladvertising, a portmanteau of “malicious advertising,” is the use of advertising to spread malware. It can take the form of a harmless advertisement found on a trustworthy website, but unleash a virus when activated. Malicious advertisements can often be difficult to decipher and cyber criminals often utilize the method of running a harmless advertisement for a while to draw attention away from them, then proceeding to replace a harmless advertisement with a virus. When the advertisement is clicked on by an unsuspecting user, it can release an unwanted virus that cause cause significant damage to the user’s computer.

Internet Scams
Internet scams can include a variety of cybercrime, but most often include scams in which perpetrators pretend to be tech support in order to trick a user into paying hundreds of dollars in computer repairs and virus removal that isn’t necessary. Scam artists do this by calling computer users and convincing them to invest in computer repairs for a fee. Unfortunately, victims of internet scams are affected every day by cyber criminals who excel in tricking users into believing that they have computer problems that do not exist.

Ransomware can cause extensive damage as it can enter your computer when activated and encrypt your files. Unlike other forms of malware, the encryption key in ransomware exists on the hacker’s computer,

and therefore they exhibit full control. Ransomware can be devastating to an individual or business, since a hacker can deny you access to your own computer and files until they are paid a large sum of money.

Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the most damaging, and common, forms of cybercrime that impacts millions of individuals and families each year. Identity theft occurs when an individual takes on the identity of another individual for financial or personal gain. Identity theft can occur online if a perpetrator is able to access your personal information, including your credit card information or Social Security number, and therefore it is always recommended to keep your personal information safely protected and to never give out private information to strangers over the phone or email.

Consult a Data Forensics Specialist at Atlantic Data Forensics If You Are a Victim of Cybercrime
The data forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics have seen it all, and unfortunately, cybercrime is all too common in this digital age. As specialists in the field, we recommend always protecting your personal computers with quality passwords, keeping your personal information private and hesitating before clicking on questionable advertisements and emails. However, even the most careful individual can still become a victim of cybercrime. If you have been affected by cybercrime and seek a qualified digital forensics specialist to evaluate your case, do not hesitate to contact Atlantic Data Forensics today.